This summer, filled with so much grace and so much love, has forever altered how I define the word bittersweet. Endings are always difficult but I had no idea how hard it would be to watch this chapter close. As we parted ways, I was saying goodbye to the three people that were at my side day in and day out through all the highs and lows, three beautiful souls that challenged me every day to be a better person in so many ways, three of my best friends. As we went our separate ways, we were leaving behind a family and a way of life.
After Totus Tuus I did not know what to do with my time. Of course, a good portion of it went to catching up on sleep. But you can’t sleep forever. I spent more than two months sharing almost every waking hour with my team and that bond is not something small. I missed them. After a week at home I came back to Kearney to reunite with friends here after my summer away. There was great joy in being home with my roommates and Newman community, but I also found that moving half way across the state did not mean that I got to stop processing the end of Totus Tuus. Jesus was, and is, still inviting me to walk with Him as I sort through the events of the summer.
No matter how many times I manage to forget, God continues to gently remind me that the end of one good thing does not mean the end of all good things. When I come to the end of a chapter in my life, I consistently find myself believing that there is no way anything could be better than what I am leaving behind. But what God has shown me, time and time again, is that there is good in every chapter. I am never the same person I was on the first page and every change that happens in me is due to His amazing grace in my life.
While these weeks readjusting to normal life have been trying for me in many ways, I know that they, trials and all, are an amazing gift. When Totus Tuus ended, I wanted nothing more than to come straight to Kearney and move on with my life. I did not want to process the bittersweet ending; I wanted to jump into my next endeavor to avoid this short time of waiting. Waiting makes me anxious. I am a child of my culture and have been spoiled by a society that has taught me that if I want it, I can and should have it now. God’s timing rarely works that way. I needed this time in between two good things to experience His love in the season of waiting, to learn to be patient with His timing, and to allow myself to be held by Him in my sadness.
Even in the sadness I find joy in His grace. As one of my teammates pointed out, we would not be this sad if there had not first been so much joy and love. The end of this summer was bittersweet. The bitterness of the ending comes in knowing that this summer was unique. It has happened and the joy, graces, and love that we shared will never be duplicated. But oh, the sweetness of that joy, those graces, and that love. It cannot be duplicated but I will always hold each day and each memory as precious. I would like to end with a verse from Psalm 16, which is used in Thursday Night Prayer (Compline) and has been a grace to me continually this summer, “He has put into my heart a marvelous love for the faithful ones who dwell in His land.”